Urban Bhishti : Infrastructure for the sacred

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Aya, Marisha
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Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Kaza, Krystina
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
water infrastructure
water supply
water treatment
public infrastructure
urban centres
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Aya, M. (2017). Urban Bhishti : Infrastructure for the sacred. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4573
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can water infrastructure be developed to create a place of significance and progress in an Urban Indian context? ABSTRACT: The need to protect any country’s freshwater resources is becoming increasingly crucial against the backdrop of global water shortages. However, India poses an interesting challenge with the cultural importance it gives to water, assigning water a status such that it becomes far more than a mere amenity. Due to rapid urbanization, large-scale human migration into India’s urban centres has created a need to re-assess how cities’ infrastructural networks will grow to provide for basic amenities such as water, sanitation services and waste treatment, all of which are essential for an urban population. Not only do poor sanitation services and inadequate water supply impose a disproportionate financial and public health burden on the most marginalized sectors of the urban populations, but the current water provision model employed in most urban centres across India deals with water in a highly unsustainable manner, both environmentally by allowing water pollution, and socially through the physical absence of water in the public realm of the city fabric. It is important to rethink how the integration of infrastructural technology might be introduced into the public environment. Not only should solutions facilitate the water needs of the population within which they sit, but they should promote understanding of the challenges of supplying water. This can be done by providing a platform for engagement between man and water – highlighting the social, political and cultural potential of water. This engagement could lead to greater awareness of systems involved across all three realms and could bring to the forefront one’s own personal impact on water supply. This research project aims to contribute to a constructive dialogue of how India might employ water infrastructure strategies in its urban centers, given current day problems such as rapidly growing urban populations, depleting ground water levels and insufficient water treatment and distribution networks – all set against a backdrop of cultural significance and political tension.
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